PURPOSE: In recent decades, the medical and surgical treatment of limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD) has evolved significantly through the incorporation of innovative pharmacological strategies, surgical techniques, bioengineering, and cell therapy. With such a wide variety of options, there is a need to establish a global consensus on the preferred approaches for the medical and surgical treatment of LSCD. METHODS: An international LSCD Working Group was established by the Cornea Society in 2012 and divided into subcommittees. Four face-to-face meetings, frequent email discussions, and teleconferences were conducted since then to reach agreement on a strategic plan and methods after a comprehensive literature search. A writing group drafted the current study. RESULTS: A consensus in the medical and surgical management of LSCD was reached by the Working Group. Optimization of the ocular surface by eyelid and conjunctival reconstruction, antiinflammatory therapy, dry eye and meibomian gland dysfunction treatment, minimization of ocular surface toxicity from medications, topical medications that promote epithelialization, and use of a scleral lens is considered essential before surgical treatment of LSCD. Depending on the laterality, cause, and stage of LSCD, surgical strategies including conjunctival epitheliectomy, amniotic membrane transplantation, transplantation of limbal stem cells using different techniques and sources (allogeneic vs. autologous vs. ex vivo-cultivated), transplantation of oral mucosal epithelium, and keratoprosthesis can be performed as treatment. A stepwise flowchart for use in treatment decision-making was established. CONCLUSIONS: This global consensus provides an up-to-date and comprehensive framework for the management of LSCD.
PURPOSE: Despite extensive knowledge gained over the last 3 decades regarding limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD), the disease is not clearly defined, and there is lack of agreement on the diagnostic criteria, staging, and classification system among treating physicians and research scientists working on this field. There is therefore an unmet need to obtain global consensus on the definition, classification, diagnosis, and staging of LSCD. METHODS: A Limbal Stem Cell Working Group was first established by The Cornea Society in 2012. The Working Group was divided into subcommittees. Four face-to-face meetings, frequent email discussions, and teleconferences were conducted since then to obtain agreement on a strategic plan and methodology from all participants after a comprehensive literature search, and final agreement was reached on the definition, classification, diagnosis, and staging of LSCD. A writing group was formed to draft the current manuscript, which has been extensively revised to reflect the consensus of the Working Group. RESULTS: A consensus was reached on the definition, classification, diagnosis, and staging of LSCD. The clinical presentation and diagnostic criteria of LSCD were clarified, and a staging system of LSCD based on clinical presentation was established. CONCLUSIONS: This global consensus provides a comprehensive framework for the definition, classification, diagnosis, and staging of LSCD. The newly established criteria will aid in the correct diagnosis and formulation of an appropriate treatment for different stages of LSCD, which will facilitate a better understanding of the condition and help with clinical management, research, and clinical trials in this area.
The cornea is the most commonly transplanted tissue in medicine. The main cause of corneal graft failure is allograft rejection. The incidence of graft rejection depends on the presence of high-risk characteristics, most notably corneal neovascularization. Although corneal grafting has a high success rates in the absence of these risk factors, high-risk keratoplasty is associated with low success rates because of a high incidence of immune-mediated graft rejection. To improve the survival of high-risk corneal transplantation, various preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative measures can be considered.; however, the key step in the management of these grafts is the long-term use of local and/or systemic immunosuppressive agents. Although a number of immunosuppressive agents have been employed for this purpose, the results vary significantly across different studies. This is partly due to the lack of an optimized method for their use, as well as the lack of a precise stratification of the degree of risk in each individual patient. New targeted biologic treatments, as well as tolerance-inducing methods, show promising horizons in the management of high-risk corneal transplantation in near future.
PURPOSE: To report the ocular manifestations of phospholipase-Cγ2-associated antibody deficiency and immune dysregulation (PLAID). METHODS: Case report and literature review. RESULTS: A 21-year-old woman diagnosed with PLAID was referred for evaluation of repeated episodes of ocular inflammation resulting in bilateral peripheral corneal pannus with episcleritis and corneal scarring accompanied by systemic manifestations including epidermolysis bullosa and interstitial lung disease. Systemic immunosuppression with corticosteroids and interleukin-1 (IL-1) receptor antagonist (anakinra) was supplemented with topical anakinra to avoid systemic side effects, which resulted in partial improvement of the ocular symptoms. Oral prednisone was restarted to treat active lesions during bouts of inflammation. CONCLUSIONS: Ocular PLAID is a bilateral chronic or recurrent inflammatory disease of the ocular surface leading to severe and early cicatricial ocular surface and corneal involvement because of high IL-1 production. Management of PLAID may require both topical and systemic immunomodulatory treatments, potentially including targeted local anti-IL-1 therapy.
BACKGROUND: Corneal neovascularization increases the risk of T cell-mediated allograft rejection. Here, we investigate whether T cells promote angiogenesis in transplantation. METHODS: Conventional effector T cells were collected from draining lymph nodes of allogeneic or syngeneic corneal transplanted BALB/c mice. T cells were either cocultured with vascular endothelial cells (VECs) to assess VEC proliferation or used in a mixed lymphocyte reaction assay. Messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A, -C, and VEGF receptor 2 (VEGF-R2) in VECs was assessed by real-time PCR. VEGF-A protein expression was determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Flow cytometry was used to analyze VEGF-R2 expression in corneal CD31 cells, and VEGF-A and IFNγ expression in corneal CD4 T cells. RESULTS: Allogeneic T cells from high-risk (HR) grafted mice induced more VEC proliferation than those from syngeneic transplant recipients (P = 0.03). Vascular endothelial growth factor-A mRNA and protein expression were higher in T cells from draining lymph nodes (P = 0.03 and P = 0.04, respectively) and cornea (protein; P = 0.04) of HR compared with low-risk (LR) grafted hosts. Vascular endothelial growth factor-A, VEGF-C, and VEGF-R2 mRNA expression were increased in VECs when cocultured with T cells from HR transplants compared with LR transplants and naive mice. In addition, IFNγ blockade in T cell/VEC coculture increased VEC proliferation and VEGF-A protein expression, whereas blocking VEGF-A significantly reduced VEC proliferation (P = 0.04). CONCLUSIONS: Allogeneic T cells from corneal transplant hosts promote VEC proliferation, probably via VEGF-A signaling, whereas IFNγ shows an antiangiogenic effect. Our data suggest that T cells are critical mediators of angiogenesis in transplantation.
The cornea actively maintains its own avascular status to preserve its ultimate optical function. This corneal avascular state is also defined as "corneal angiogenic privilege", which results from a critical and sensitive balance between anti-angiogenic and pro-angiogenic mechanisms. In our review, we aim to explore the complex equilibrium among multiple mediators which prevents neovascularization in the resting cornea, as well as to unveil the evolutive process which leads to corneal angiogenesis in response to different injuries.
Purpose: To assess the ocular surface in volunteers who consider themselves as healthy, in order to evaluate how para-inflammatory mechanisms fail with age, and thus investigate the phenomenon of "InflammAging." Methods: In this observational prospective cohort study, volunteers were categorized into three groups according to age: young (19-40 years), middle-aged (41-60 years), and older adults (61-93 years). Clinical assessments included tear breakup time (T-BUT) and Schirmer test type I. Dry eye symptoms were evaluated by the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) questionnaire. Conjunctival mRNA and protein expression of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), MUC5AC, and IL-8 were measured by real-time PCR and immunofluorescence. Results: A total of 82 volunteers (38 males and 44 females) were enrolled. T-BUT decreased significantly with increasing age (young: 11.13 ± 0.18 seconds; middle-aged: 10.83 ± 0.56 seconds; older: 9.00 ± 1.00 seconds, P < 0.05). Schirmer test values decreased significantly with age (young: 20.6 ± 1.0 mm; middle-aged: 19.2 ± 1.2 mm; older: 16.0 ± 1.1 mm, P < 0.05). OSDI scores increased with age in both groups, but they were substantially higher in women. Conjunctival expression of inflammatory markers ICAM-1, IL-8, and MUC5AC increased with age. Conclusions: Clinical signs, symptoms, and biomarkers of chronic inflammation increased with age in a cohort of volunteers who considered themselves healthy, indicating an age-related progressive impairment of ocular surface system function.
BACKGROUND: Photophobia is a potentially debilitating symptom often found in dry eye disease (DE), migraine and traumatic brain injury (TBI). METHODS: We conducted a review of the literature via a PubMed search of English language articles with a focus on how photophobia may relate to a shared pathophysiology across DE, migraine and TBI. RESULTS: DE, migraine and TBI are common conditions in the general population, are often comorbid, and share photophobia as a symptom. Across the three conditions, neural dysregulation of peripheral and central nervous system components is implicated in photophobia in various animal models and in humans. Enhanced activity of the neuropeptide calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is closely linked to photophobia. Current therapies for photophobia include glasses which shield the eyes from specific wavelengths, botulinum toxin, and inhibition of CGRP and its receptor. Many individuals have persistent photophobia despite the use of these therapies, and thus, development of new therapies is needed. CONCLUSIONS: The presence of photophobia in DE, migraine and TBI suggests shared trigeminothalamic pathophysiologic mechanisms, as explained by central neuroplasticity and hypersensitivity mediated by neuropeptide CGRP. Treatment strategies which target neural pathways (ie, oral neuromodulators, transcutaneous nerve stimulation) should be considered in patients with persistent photophobia, specifically in individuals with DE whose symptoms are not controlled with traditional therapies.
PURPOSE: Corneal wound healing is a highly regulated process that requires the proliferation and migration of epithelial cells and interactions between epithelial cells and stromal fibroblasts. Compounds that can be applied topically to the ocular surface and that have the capability of activating corneal epithelial cells to proliferate and/or migrate would be useful to promote corneal wound healing. We hypothesize that human growth hormone (HGH) will activate signal transducers and activators of transcription-5 (STAT5) signaling and promote corneal wound healing by enhancing corneal epithelial cell and fibroblast proliferation and/or migration in vitro. The purpose of this study was to test these hypotheses. METHODS: We studied cell signaling, proliferation, and migration using an immortalized human corneal epithelial cell line and primary human corneal fibroblasts in vitro. We also examined whether insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), a hormone known to mediate many of HGH's growth promoting actions, may play a role in this effect. RESULTS: We show that HGH activates STAT5 signaling and promotes corneal epithelial cell migration in vitro. The migratory effect requires an intact communication between corneal epithelia and fibroblasts and is not mediated by IGF-1. CONCLUSIONS: HGH may represent a topical therapeutic to promote corneal epithelial wound healing. This warrants further investigation.
IMPORTANCE: A phase 1 study has reported that dry eye disease is the most common adverse effect of human exposure to the antibody figitumumab, an anticancer drug that prevents insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) from binding to its receptor. We hypothesized that the mechanism underlying this effect is the inhibition of IGF-1 action in epithelial cells of the meibomian gland. OBJECTIVES: To test the hypothesis that IGF-1 stimulates meibomian gland function in vitro and to examine whether growth hormone, a closely related hormone of IGF-1, has the same effect. DESIGN, SETTING, AND MATERIAL: Immortalized human meibomian gland epithelial cells were cultured in the presence or the absence of IGF-1, growth hormone, and an IGF-1 receptor-blocking antibody. Signaling pathways, cell proliferation, neutral lipid staining, and a key protein involved in lipid biogenesis were evaluated. INTERVENTION: Application of IGF-1 and growth hormone to human meibomian gland epithelial cells. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Immunoblotting, cell counting, and neutral lipid staining. RESULTS Insulin-like growth factor 1 activated the phosphoinositol 3-kinase/Akt and forkhead box O1 pathways (showing a dose-dependent effect on immunoblotting), stimulated cellular proliferation (about 1.8-fold increase in cell number), increased sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1 expression (about 3-fold increase on immunoblotting), and promoted lipid accumulation in human meibomian gland epithelial cells (about 2-fold increase in lipid staining). These IGF-1 actions, which may be blocked by cotreatment with the anti-IGF-1 antibody, were accompanied by inconsistent effects on extracellular signal-regulated kinase phosphorylation. We were not able to demonstrate activation of Akt, forkhead box O1, extracellular signal-regulated kinase, Janus kinase 2, or signal transducers and activators of transcription 5, induced cell proliferation, or lipid accumulation in these cells by growth hormone application. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Our results support the hypothesis that IGF-1 acts on human meibomian gland epithelial cells and may explain why treatment with figitumumab, the IGF-1 inhibitor, causes dry eye disease. Ophthalmic care for dry eye disease may be needed when patients with cancer undergo treatment with drugs that inhibit IGF-1 action.
Dry eye disease is a prevalent eye disorder that in particular affects the elderly population. One of the major causes of dry eye, meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), shows increased prevalence with aging. MGD is caused by hyperkeratinization of the ductal epithelium of meibomian gland and reduced quantity and/or quality of meibum, the holocrine product that stabilizes and prevents the evaporation of the tear film. Of note, retinoids which are used in current anti-aging cosmetics may promote the development of MGD and dry eye disease. In this review, we will discuss the possible mechanisms of age-related MGD.
PURPOSE: Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is a primary cause of dry eye disease. One of the risk factors for MGD is exposure to 13-cis retinoic acid (13-cis RA), a metabolite of vitamin A. However, the mechanism is not well understood. We hypothesize that 13-cis RA inhibits cell proliferation, promotes cell death, alters gene and protein expressions, and attenuates cell survival pathways in human meibomian gland epithelial cells. METHODS: To test our hypotheses, immortalized human meibomian gland epithelial cells were cultured with or without 13-cis RA for varying doses and time. Cell proliferation, cell death, gene expression, and proteins involved in proliferation/survival and inflammation were evaluated. RESULTS: We found that 13-cis RA inhibited cell proliferation, induced cell death, and significantly altered the expression of 6726 genes, including those involved in cell proliferation, cell death, differentiation, keratinization, and inflammation, in human meibomian gland epithelial cells. Further, 13-cis RA also reduced the phosphorylation of Akt and increased the generation of interleukin-1β and matrix metallopeptidase 9. CONCLUSIONS: Exposure to 13-cis RA inhibits cell proliferation, increases cell death, alters gene expression, changes signaling pathways, and promotes inflammatory mediator and protease expression in meibomian gland epithelial cells. These effects may be responsible, at least in part, for the 13-cis RA-related induction of MGD.
BACKGROUND: Immune rejection continues to threaten all tissue transplants. Here we sought to determine whether platelet (P)- and endothelial (E)-selectin mediate T cell recruitment in corneal transplantation and whether their blockade can reduce T cell graft infiltration and improve long-term corneal allograft survival. METHODS: In a murine model of allogeneic corneal transplantation, we used PCR and immunohistochemistry to investigate expression of P- and E-selectin in rejected versus accepted allografts and lymph node flow cytometry to assess expression of selectin ligands by effector T cells. Using P- and E-selectin neutralizing antibodies, we evaluated the effect of blockade on CD4 T cell recruitment, as well as the effect of anti-E-selectin on long-term allograft survival. RESULTS: The P- (93.3-fold, P < 0.05) and E-selectin (17.1-fold, P < 0.005) are upregulated in rejected versus accepted allogeneic transplants. Type 1 T helper cells from hosts with accepted and rejected grafts express high levels of P-selectin glycoprotein ligand 1 and glycosylated CD43. In vivo blockade of P (0.47 ± 0.03, P < 0.05) and E selectin (0.49 ± 0.1, P < 0.05) reduced the number of recruited T cells compared with IgG control (0.98 ± 0.1). Anti-E-selectin reduced the number of mature antigen-presenting cells trafficking to lymphoid tissue compared with control (6.96 ± 0.9 vs 12.67 ± 0.5, P < 0.05). Anti-E-selectin treatment delayed graft rejection and increased survival compared with control, although this difference did not reach statistical significance. CONCLUSIONS: In a model of corneal transplantation, P- and E-selectin mediate T cell recruitment to the graft, E-selectin mediates APC trafficking to lymphoid tissue, and blockade of E-selectin has a modest effect on improving long-term graft survival.
BACKGROUND: Graft failure because of immune rejection remains a significant problem in organ transplantation, and lymphatic and blood vessels are important components of the afferent and efferent arms of the host alloimmune response, respectively. We compare the effect of antihemangiogenic and antilymphangiogenic therapies on alloimmunity and graft survival in a murine model of high-risk corneal transplantation. METHODS: Orthotopic corneal transplantation was performed in hemevascularized and lymph-vascularized high-risk host beds, and graft recipients received subconjunctival vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-trap, anti-VEGF-C, sVEGFR-3, or no treatment, beginning at the time of surgery. Fourteen days after transplantation, graft hemeangiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis were evaluated by immunohistochemistry. The frequencies of Th1 cells in regional lymphoid tissue and graft-infiltrating immune cells were evaluated by flow cytometry. Long-term allograft survival was compared using Kaplan-Meier curves. RESULTS: VEGF-trap significantly decreased graft hemangiogenesis as compared to the control group and was most effective in reducing the frequency of graft-infiltrating immune cells. Anti-VEGF-C and sVEGFR3 significantly decreased graft lymphangiogenesis and lymphoid Th1 cell frequencies as compared to control. VEGF-trap (72%), anti-VEGF-C (25%), and sVEGFR-3 (11%) all significantly improved in the 8-week graft survival compared to control (0%), although VEGF-trap was significantly more effective than both anti-VEGF-C (P < 0.05) and sVEGFR-3 (P < 0.05). CONCLUSION: In a clinically relevant model of high-risk corneal transplantation in which blood and lymphatic vessels are present and treatment begins at the time of transplantation, VEGF-trap is significantly more effective in improving long-term graft survival as compared to anti-VEGF-C and sVEGFR-3, but all approaches improve survival when compared to untreated control.
Neurotrophic Keratitis (NK) is a degenerative disorder of the cornea characterized by decreased or absent sensory corneal innervation, corneal epitheliopathy and impaired healing.The clinical presentation of NK can range from persistent epithelial defects to corneal perforation and management is often both challenging and protracted. Historically, the management of NK has consisted of non-specific strategies to facilitate corneal epithelial healing such as lubrication, bandage contact lenses and tarsorrhaphy. Recent advances in the development of therapeutics for NK have provided new and efficacious targeted strategies for its management.In this article, we review recombinant human nerve growth factor (Cenegermin), currently approved for clinical use in the United States and Europe, as well as other promising therapeutic options that are in pre-clinical development such as thymosine β4, connexin43 inhibitors, and artificial extracellular matrix components.
PURPOSE: Alternative splice isoforms of TCF4, a gene implicated in Fuchs corneal dystrophy, have been identified in multiple human tissues outside of the eye. The aim of this study was to identify the transcriptional profile of TCF4 in the corneal endothelium. METHODS: We extracted RNA from the donor corneal endothelium and performed rapid amplification of cDNA ends. We tested the expression pattern of 1 newly identified isoform (7b) in a panel of cDNA derived from multiple human tissues and included cDNA from corneal endothelial (CE) and retinal pigment epithelial cell lines. To further delineate differential expression of TCF4 splice variants that span CTG18.1, we analyzed expression of 6 alternative splice isoforms that are transcribed from either exon 2 or 3 in RNA extracted from the corneal endothelium of 3 normal donors and a CE cell line. RESULTS: We identified 11 different isoforms in control CE tissue, including 1 isoform (7b) not reported previously. This isoform is enriched specifically in the corneal endothelium and placenta compared with other tissues in a panel of human cDNA. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate the complex expression profile of TCF4 in the human corneal endothelium and reveal expression of alternative splice variants of TCF4.
PURPOSE: To determine eye drop type and usage frequency and investigate risk factors for no eye drop use in individuals with symptomatic dry eye (DE) in Japan. STUDY DESIGN: Crowdsourced observational study. METHODS: This study was conducted using the DryEyeRhythm smartphone application between November 2016 and September 2019. Data collected included the type and frequency of eye drop use, demographics, medical history, lifestyle, and self-reported symptoms. Symptomatic DE was defined as an Ocular Surface Disease Index total score of ≥ 13. Risk factors for no eye drop use were identified using multivariate logistic regression analyses. RESULTS: Among 2619 individuals with symptomatic DE, 1876 did not use eye drops. The most common eye drop type was artificial tears (53.4%), followed by hyaluronic acid 0.1% (33.1%) and diquafosol sodium 3% (18.7%). Risk factors (odds ratio [95% confidence interval]) for no eye drop use were age (0.97 [0.97-0.98]), body mass index (1.04 [1.01-1.07]), brain disease (0.38 [0.15-0.98]), collagen disease (0.30 [0.13-0.68]), mental illness other than depression and schizophrenia (0.65 [0.45-0.93]), cataract surgery (0.12 [0.02-0.59]), ophthalmic surgery other than cataract and laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (0.55 [0.34-0.88]), current (0.47 [0.38-0.57]) or past (0.58 [0.43-0.77]) contact lens use, >8 h screen exposure time (1.38 [1.05-1.81]), <6 h (1.24 [1.01-1.52]) and >9 h (1.34 [1.04-1.72]) sleep time, and water intake (0.97 [0.94-0.98]). CONCLUSION: Many participants with symptomatic DE did not use optimized eye drop treatment and identified risk factors for no eye drop use. The DryEyeRhythm application may help improve DE treatment.